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Naval Salute

Akshay Kumar’s Rustom lifts the crown for best-promoted film in August

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A strong dose of patriotism, strong content, a winning streak from the lead actor and an intelligent marketing campaign polled Rustom as the best-promoted film of the month among the trade.

Yes, it’s that time of the month again when we take stock of the films that hit cinemas in the previous month, and the production house that went all guns blazing to promote their films. But August was an especially crucial month for the trade because it boasted two of the biggest releases of the year, and it included a national holiday – Independence Day.

So, as we enter September, we analyse the marketing strategies and promotions used by producers for their films in August. We also spoke to distributors and exhibitors, who are best placed to judge whether production houses and marketing gurus did full justice to their productions.

The month of August started with Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani starrer The Legend Of Michael Mishra, followed by Akshay Kumar’s Rustom and Hrithik Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro, which released amid much fanfare during the Independence Day weekend. The third week of August saw Abhay Deol, Jimmy Sheirgill, Ali Fazal and Diana Penty’s Happy Bhag Jayegi and the month closed with Tiger Shroff and Jacqueline Fernandez’s A Flying Jatt.

Akshay Kumar and Ileana D’Cruz’s last release Rustom was a worthy winner for the best-promoted film in August, as it grabbed the hearts of the nation. According to many in the trade, the film was a sure-shot winner as the audience was already on the roll with Kumar’s earlier releases, Baby and Airlift. The audience thoroughly appreciated his performances in these films and that worked in favour of Rustom.

In addition, Rustom saw some superlative marketing by Devika Shroff of Spoton India (Hype PR headed by Nilufer Qureshi did an excellent job too), which guaranteed a fantastic opening. After that, there was no looking back for this film.

Here’s the industry’s take on why these companies deserved laurels for the best-marketed film of August:

 Anees BazmeeAnees Bazmee, Director

Rustom was undoubtedly the best-marketed film of the month. It started generating a buzz from the minute the first trailer released, The buzz increased as songs from the film were released. This was the third collaboration between Neeraj Pandey’s production house and Akshay Kumar, so everyone was already favourably disposed towards the film. And the marketing team pitched it correctly, through the Chhupa Rustom videos. The campaign was very innovative and it worked.

sajid Sajid (Farhad-Sajid), Director

The best-marketed film of the month is, without a doubt, Rustom. The marketing strategy gave you a clear idea of what the film was about. Akshay Kumar’s countdown videos with the stars went viral. The trailer was also a huge ace for the film. It too went viral. The music was brilliant as well. Another film that was very well marketed was A Flying Jatt, whose Beat pe booty song challenge went viral.

pravanPavan Kriplani, Director

One of the best movies of the month was Rustom and the marketing of the film was outstanding too. Whether you turned on the TV or checked your social networking sites, Rustom was all over the place. The star cast visited cities to speak about the film before its release, so movie-goers knew what to expect. Social media has become a key space when it comes to marketing a movie and having a star like Akshay Kumar is most of the battle won. One interesting aspect of Rustom’s marketing strategy was the use of the uniform, which became a huge promotional tool and it worked.

abhishekAbhishek Pathak, Producer

The best marketed movie of the month is Rustom without any doubt. The film had Akshay Kumar as the lead actor and Neeraj Pandey as the producer and along with that strong content. But the marketing team went all out to promote the film.  The digital campaign on social media was fantastic, where all the stars from the industry Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Rajni sir promoting the film.

Inspite of having big star cast, the production house and Akshay Kumar went all out to promote the film. And hence the first day got such brilliant audience at the theatre. And obviously the word-of-mouth publicity too worked for the film.

Thomas-Dsouza1-150x150Thomas D’Souza, Programming Head, PVR Cinemas

Rustom is the best-marketed film for the month of August. Marketing the film at the right time made all the difference – releasing information relevant to the Nanavati case, the dialogue promos hinting the more-than-meets-the-eye element of the plot and, of course, the chart-busting song by Atif Aslam. Also, many actors supported the film on digital platforms and Akshay Kumar now shares a rapport with the audience when it comes to his films, especially serious cinema, namely Baby, Airlift and now Rustom.

Devang SampatDevang Sampat,  Business Head/ strategic Initiatives, Cinepolis

The best-marketed film of the month is clearly Rustom. Akshay Kumar, the leading star, went all out to promote it and the film had a very good opening. Marketing of a serious subject is very difficult, but the Zee team totally delivered. The strategy of disclosing the story in the first promo was a great idea. Friday openings speak louder than anything else and there was no debate; the marketing worked for Rustom. The countdown videos done by other stars ahead of the film’s release also became very popular and were a good strategy.

 tinku-singh-1Tinku Singh, Group President/CSO, SRS

Promotion and marketing have become important aspects of every movie. Movies like Rustom prove that when the essence of a story is patriotism, it is the perfect formula for cinema in August, month of Independence. Akshay Kumar also posted a picture of himself on a popular social media platform, standing in front of the room where Bal Gangadhar Tilak spent the most influential years of his life. Kumar’s Rustom was clearly going to be the favorite at multiplexes as the audience has always supported him.

These days, not only the audience but superstars also support their peers.  Kumar opted for a unique way to promote Rustom, by requesting his friends to upload videos on social media sites. Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt also promoted Rustom on social media. Rajinikanth, who usually stays away from Twitter, took to the micro-blogging site to offer his heartiest wishes to the Rustom.

Murli ChhatwaniMurli Chhatwani, Managing Director, Muviwale Entertainment

I believe marketing is a key decider in the success of any film. Rustom undoubtedly wins the crown of the best-marketed film of August. The film was liked by the masses and the classes alike. The campaign started very early, with announcements made even before shooting had begun. Then, about six months before the release, the first posters came out.

The film gained massive traction after Akshay Kumar’s first look was launched. There was also a very elaborate city tour planned by Akshay Kumar, which gave it that final push. In addition, there were many social media attractions, including posts from Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and other celebrities and Akshay Kumar’s replies to all of them.

Raj-Malik-11-150x150 Raj Malik, Senior Vice-President, Production And Distribution, Krian Pictures

The best-marketed film was Rustom. Most of the innovations for the film were designed keeping in mind the film’s target audience, which was an interesting thought. The production house used Akshay Kumar’s look as the USP and starting point for its promotions. Film marketing today has its challenges, with mounting advertising costs. Hence, a campaign which directly involves movie lovers has a better chance of succeeding.

 Rajesh ThadaniRajesh Thadani, Distributor, Mumbai

Rustom stood out in terms of marketing in the month of August. Although A Flying Jatt had a good promotional strategy and the song Beat pe booty did well, the USP of Rustom was that after Baby and Airlift, the audience was looking forward to another serious, content-rich Akshay Kumar film. While he and his leading lady did their utmost to promote Rustom across media platforms, Balaji rooted big time for their movie, A Flying Jatt. Both deserve huge credit in terms of marketing.

Rohini Nag and Soumita Sengupta
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